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1) Adele: She keeps breaking records on an hourly basis as “21” celebrates its first year on the chart with its biggest-selling week yet as she sweeps the Brits. Note to M.I.A.: When Adele gives the finger people think it’s charming. Learn from that.
2) Whitney Houston: The adage that death is a good career move, sadly, rings true once again. Two weeks after her death, her sales rise 144%.
One of the uncomfortable truths of being an artist working in any media is that many times, you have an "expired by" date on your work, whether you like it or not. It is far more common for someone to have a brief period where they are productive and part of the larger cultural conversation and then that period ends and they drop off the face of the earth than it is for someone to have a career that lasts for decades and decades and decades with them always successfully producing work and reaching their audience.
When Sinead O'Connor released her first few albums, I was as onboard as a person could be. I still think "The Lion and the Cobra" and "I Do Not What What I Haven't Got" are two of the best records from my teenage years, and I've worn out or lost more copies of both than I can count. There was a time when I was far more attuned to what was going on in music, and I've had to make my peace with never going to see live music in LA because I have a mortgage and am not prepared to pay scalper prices for every single thing I want to see. Back in the '90s, I saw Sinead play a few times, and she was always impressive live, with pipes that were as good as they were on her albums if not better.
Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch "The X Factor," "Survivor," "Top Chef," "Project Runway," "Celebrity Apprentice" or any other competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too.
COMPETITION REALITY SHOWS
Sabrina must manage the airheads, but it's Nina who gets the boot.
Nina explains why Kat was just as destructive as she said she was.
"Survivor Africa" winner Ethan Zohn gets his second stem cell transplant as part of his treatment for a recurrence of cancer.
DANCING WITH THE STARS
Melissa Gilbert! Jack Wagner! Sherri Shepherd! And other semi-famous people may be joining the cast. Allegedly.
THE AMAZING RACE
We hardly got the chance to know Missy and Maiya, the sisters from Hawaii, but they're gone no, so no biggie.
The cause of death for the freelance producer who died in Uganda may have been poisoning or may have been a cocaine overdose. All that's clear right now is that nothing is clear.
Take a look at how the teams are shaping up in the fourth blind audition.
It seems like it's been Courtney's time to go for ages, but somehow Kacie B gets tossed off the show. And yes, Ben is an idiot.
Well, maybe not a total idiot. He apparently did the show to plug his wine. That's just good marketing!
THE BIGGEST LOSER
When contestants learn that a twist will bring back those previously eliminated, they mutiny. In other news, trainer Bob Harper says most of the contestants are "mean" and "bullies," so no great loss.
The show's vocal coach, Debra Byrd, is out so Jimmy Iovine can bring in his "own people."
THE X FACTOR
Simon Cowell won't say whether Whitney Houston was definitely in the running to join the show, but he will say that you can expect two new hosts -- a guy and a girl.
In a decidedly weird elimination challenge (it's hot, it's cold, it's lukewarm!), Lindsay is told to pack her knives and go. One mean girl still remains, however.
PROJECT RUNWAY ALL STARS
Mila's schizoid dress earns her a one way ticket home. Guess it might have been a good idea to ask another designer for an opinion, but it would have involved being nice.
NON-COMPETITION REALITY TV SHOWS
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY
Gretchen and Tamra just made up, but already the cracks are showing in their new, fragile friendship. Oh, and already new girl Heather is not so well-liked.
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA
It's official - Marlo is horrible. The other housewives aren't so great, either. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Another sign we can't get rid of Tyra Banks, no matter how much we might want to -- another season of "America's Next Top Model" is in the works.
Kate Gosselin is lonely. Um, okay.
I was really irritated sitting there in the tent on the beach in Santa Monica this year watching the Independent Spirit Awards unfold.
Things started out great, though. Seth Rogen's opening monologue killed, even though a number of the people in there apparently weren't equipped to grasp the humor. I was happy to see Christopher Plummer, however expected, take yet another supporting actor trophy for his performance in "Beginners."
Even though I called it, I was nevertheless stoked for Will Reiser surprising with a win in the Best First Screenplay category for "50/50." And even though I'd have much preferred seeing Jessica Chastain get the good will, it was hard not to be happy for Shailene Woodley, who won Best Supporting Female after she was snubbed by the Academy. Then things took a different turn. "The Artist" just started winning everything. Everyone just bowed down. Couldn't we have this one moment of solace away from that steamroller? Apparently not.
Okay, I'll level with you. One fairly major reason I want "The Artist" to win Best Picture at tomorrow's Academy Awards ceremony has nothing whatsoever to do with its lithe charms as a Hollywood fable, its glistening appropriation of a long-dormant screen style, the quicksilver star turn of its leading man or even its eminently adoptable Jack Russell.
It has nothing to do with the film being a silent-cinema gateway for less informed audiences, an all-too-rare foreign crossover, or a witty marker of the distance the medium has traveled in 80-odd years.
It has nothing to do with my relative feelings about its rival nominees, or with the disproportionate critical backlash its success has inspired. Not that these aren't all factors worthy of consideration, but this reason has nothing to do with the movie at all.
It's because I have money on it.
Making a second film can be more difficult than making a first film in many cases, and for reasons that are almost exclusively different in each case. With a first film, you're trying to prove yourself in general. You're simply making the case that you can, indeed, finish a film. You can wrestle something up onto the screen. Good, bad, whatever it is, you can do it.
If you are able to make that first film, getting it seen is a second fight, something almost totally separate from the making of the thing. If you are fortunate enough to not only make your film but also get it seen, that's a win no matter what the film is. And if you get it made, get it seen, and it's actually good? Well, the world's your oyster at that point, right?
Not necessarily. Sometimes, you set up expectations, and those expectations become a trap, and sometimes you find yourself either living up to something or living it down, but either way, you're struggling against something that can lead to real frustration, both for you and for the people you're asking to spend money on your films. With Marston, I'm not sure what happened. He made his breakthrough feature "Maria Full Of Grace" in 2004, and then worked a few times for TV and made another couple of shorts and did a little more TV, but It's taken until now for him to get a second feature made. What's apparent from this second film of his is that he has a real voice and a very particular sensibility and we would certainly be better off if he was working more often.
It seemed an easy task when I told Guy and Gerard to follow Roth's lead and help me turn the idea of "Oscar's big miss" into a quick mini-series at the end of the season. Roth's pick was undeniable. Gerard's was inspired. Guy's was well-spotted. What would I spring for?
Look, the truth is there are a lot of movies the Academy hasn't properly recognized over the last 84 years, and they go all the way to near the beginning. "Metropolis," "The Passion of Joan of Arc," "City Lights," "King Kong," "Modern Times," "Sullivan's Travels," "Paths of Glory," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "The Fountain," "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "Another Year" and if not genre filmmaking in general, the entirety of the western genre surely all made for compelling picks. But what equates to a "big miss" anyway? What does it mean?
(The Oscar Guide has been your chaperone through the Academy's 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with today's Best Picture finale being the cherry on top.)
And here we are. The 2011 Oscar Guide has finally reached its destination: the nine-film Best Picture category, which saw its biggest surprise in the very fact that it stretched to that many nominees. It became somewhat obvious down the stretch that five films were assured a spot, with another highly likely. The extraneous possibilities seemed to number no more than three or four, but two of them got in.
The question, though, is did the alteration in the Best Picture voting process really do all that much? Did it really breed the suspense it so clearly aimed for? Would it have mattered all that much if a full slate of 10 had remained in place? Well, to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" or "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," perhaps. At the end of the day, though, the constant tinkering with the process has done little more than keep people considering it and talking about it. Maybe that was the goal and the joke's on us.
The nominees are…
Film Independent's co-chairmen Sean McManus and Josh Welsh on their first year behind the Spirit Awards
In less than 24 hours, the 27th Independent Spirit Awards will be handed out at the beach in Santa Monica, CA and the independent film world will celebrate yet another year of artistic achievement. What many also don't know is that the Spirit Awards are the biggest yearly fundraiser for Film Independent, a non-profit organization which runs the Spirits, numerous educational and industry events across the country as well as the annual LA Film Festival.